PATA partners with EU funded Switch Asia project to promote sustainable Thai tourism supply chains

Published on : Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has partnered with a European Union (EU)-funded TourLink project that recently kicked-off, under the EU SWITCH-ASIA programme.

TourLink is a Thai tourism supply chain initiative, linking EU buyers with Thai tour operators and suppliers, aiming to increase competitive advantage by raising sustainability performance.

Faced with the realities of climate change, systematic sustainability management will be a required mark of quality, safety and professionalism, and a key to doing business with EU outbound tour operators. In the post-COVID-19 tourism landscape, tourism professionals with the skills to deliver positive results for profit, planet and people will be more employable.

TourLink unites the experience, expertise, and energy of Thai-EU sustainable tourism pioneers: the European Centre for Ecological and Agricultural Tourism (ECEAT), Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Thai Eco and Adventure Travel Association (TEATA), and Thai Hotel Association (THA). The partners will work until April 2024 to raise sustainability performance along Thai tourism supply chains and boost market demand for sustainable product choices.

Partners will build the capacity of Thai tour operators and suppliers, such as hotels, transport, and activity providers, to achieve common standards for quality, safety, and sustainability. The outcome will lead to internationally recognised Travelife certification for the suppliers and market benefits for their businesses, as well as showcase Thailand as a leading sustainable tourism destination. TourLink will also improve Thai tourism businesses’ access to Green Finance initiatives and contribute to key challenges of plastic reduction and food waste, and decreasing carbon emissions.

According to TourLink Project Manager, Mr. Peter Richards, “Raising your sustainability performance during this time will help you save money through simple, cost-saving measures; show European B2B business partners that you are professional and reliable, and motivate your staff during the difficult COVID period. Travelife’s sustainability management system can directly link your company to leading EU Tourism Associations and showcase your achievements. Tour operators which engage now can benefit from free membership for 2021-22, use Travelife’s online platform, criteria, training tools and tips; and receive personal coaching to help you to meet the standards.”

PATA CEO Liz Ortiguera echoes this sentiment, adding, “PATA is focussed on supporting the industry recovery with tangible in-market projects that can demonstrate practical, responsible solutions. Our goal is to develop and/or share business models that combine sustainability with profitability. Creating strong sustainability development plans will bring competitive advantage and generate long-term success for your business.”

The TourLink team is reaching out to collaborate with other public and private sector organisations. One exciting opportunity is collaboration with the highly innovative Thailand Carbon Balance project, managed by TEATA, DASTA, TGO, TCEB and the Thai Chamber of Commerce. This cooperation can enable an end-to-end EU-Thai tourism supply chain approach towards carbon calculation, management, and offsetting (carbon credits).

PATA is also building on their pioneering BUFFET Toolkit, which provides step by step guidelines for reducing food waste, and Plastic Free Toolkit for Tour Operators to develop new standards, tools and innovative training which will help Thai tourism professionals to harness sustainability as an opportunity for well-paid work during COVID-19 recovery.

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